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The cartoons and contemplations of a twentysomething copy editor.

Friday, January 28, 2005

A global problem

Yesterday evening, I attended an educational event sponsored by Jewish InterAction at MIT. The speaker was a former IDF colonel, Miri Eisin, who talked about Israel's portrayal in the media, American and otherwise.

During the Q&A, I asked Col. Eisin what makes suicide bombers go through with their missions -- how can a person choose to blow him- or herself up? She told me that the practice is not unique to the Palestinian suicide bombers -- that it began in Sri Lanka -- and that Tel Aviv University has done a study of some suicide bombers who have survived. The primary motivation, she said, seems to be ideological.

A perusal online locates this article, which gives a history of suicide bombings and seems to indicate that this heinous atrocity surfaced in Lebanon. The BBC has a comprehensive description of the Tamil Tigers' suicide campaigns. But what is it that makes people do this? From what I can find, the answers seem to include religion, ideology, persuasion by a charismatic leader, personal hardship, and a desire for vengeance.

The U.S. was jolted into an awareness of the danger posed by suicide bombers on Sept. 11, 2001. The nation, and the global community, must work together to eradicate the roots of suicide bombing. But as these articles indicate, these problems are maddeningly difficult to solve.


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